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Putin, Abe speak with astronauts on International Space Station from Kremlin

May 26, 19:13 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and astronaut Norishige Kanai from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency took part in the conversation

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© AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev

MOSCOW, May 26. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a video call on Saturday from the Kremlin to the International Space Station (ISS). Among the crew are two Russian cosmonauts and one Japanese astronaut.

The two leaders spoke to the ISS from the St. Andrew Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace, where a large television screen had been installed for the video linkup. Russian cosmonaut and ISS Expedition 55 commander Anton Shkaplerov and astronaut Norishige Kanai from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) took part in the conversation with Putin and Abe.

Prior to the video linkup, Putin and Abe had held talks in the narrow format and in format of an official dinner. After the video linkup with the ISS crew, they are to attend the signing ceremony and will hold a news conference. In the evening, Putin and Abe are visiting the Bolshoi Theater to unveil the cross years of Russia in Japan and Japan in Russia.

Russian cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Anton Shkaplerov, Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai, and US astronauts Ricky Arnold, Drew Feustel and Scott Tingle are currently working on the ISS as the Expedition 55 crew.

Putin has phoned the ISS crews several times on Days of Cosmonautics marked on April 12. The latest conversation took place in 2016. Nevertheless, the direct communication channel with the ISS was established for the Russian president and a foreign leader for the first time ever.

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